Talent Crunch Demands Investment, Creation in Filling Open Seats

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November 5, 2017 | Ankita Poddar | HCI

Resource crunch is a tragic reality in talent acquisition today.

Top talent is hard to find and harder to keep. If there was ever a war for talent, we are pretty darn close to losing. We need to find another strategy to fill the endlessly growing open requisitions. Talent acquisition (TA) needs to do more than just acquire. Being a hunter no longer serves the purpose.

It is now time to don the hat of a creator, which is the long-term solution for a problem that we face today. Much like global warming, it is a space where organizations have already begun to invest, if they have an eye on the future.

What should we do?

Organizations pay sufficient attention to growing employees within the organization. Some have gone a step further by starting to investigate potential future hires, too. This is often visible when organizations connect with colleges and fresh graduates to provide trainings that align with workplace needs.

Large companies like IBM, Delta and Google invest heavily in providing tools, techniques and expertise to help build skills required today. Not all candidates with access to these resources join the organization, but it does translate into a larger pool for the TA team to dive into.

I recommend learning from these organizations. Position your experts into classrooms to improve the skills of the future workforce and help them become more familiar with what life at work will look like.

Next, take it a step forward. Focus on more than entry-level and uncover ways to raise the skill level of potential lateral hires, too.

Why should we make this change?

Let’s start with the obvious: There is a shrinking pool of available talent and a wage war is hardly the path forward.

It makes sense to invest in upskilling the workforce outside of your own organization. I agree it sounds altruistic at first. Maybe a tiny portion of the total population that you invest in actually becomes a hire, and maybe many of those candidates end up joining a competitor.

Look at it as a long-term goal and a moral responsibility. Imagine if every organization did their part. We’d no longer be in the resource crunch that we are in today.

Think about the public relations benefit in building a positive brand image and familiarizing the outside world with the experts and opportunities available in your organization. Many employees enjoy sharing knowledge and making a difference. Giving an opportunity to your employees to contribute towards upskilling the external workforce might just be the magic engagement mechanism you’re looking for.

How do we get started?

It is likely that your organization already invests in campus relations by offering internships, live projects, technical courses and lectures.

Think about how you can further boost the engagement mechanism. If you’re already deep into connection with colleges, then shift your focus to lateral talent. Start small.

Many strong candidates don’t make it into the organization due to coachable skill gaps. If that’s the case, assign them to a mentor from within the organization for a fixed duration, and encourage them to interview with the organization again in six months.

Outside of the organization, explore skill-based meetups that run in your area. Support your employees’ participation and contribution. Some meet-ups struggle to find a place to hold gatherings, so consider offering your office.

As expected, there are possible risks and disadvantages with each investment. Success will come from trusting your educated instinct, experimenting with investments and thinking long term.